The starship Starfarer is poised for our first voyage to another star system. The Alien Contact Team - physicist Victoria Fraser MacKenzie, geneticist Stephen Thomas Gregory, geographer Satoshi Lono, and alien contact specialist J.D. Sauvage - and the rest of the faculty and staff prepare for humanity's most ambitious exploratory expedition. But the world has changed. A new regime orders the vessel to be abandoned. It will be turned into an instrument of war. What do the Starfarers do? They do what any red-blooded Alien Contact Team would do. They steal the starship.
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The starship Starfarer prepares for Earth’s first interstellar voyage. Its diverse faculty includes J.D. Sauvage, the alien contact specialist and a large cast of interstellar experts.
With the ship still recovering from sabotage even as new mechanical problems arise, J.D. Sauvage and the first contact crew prepare to meet the reclusive alien squidmoth. Though civilized worlds have shunned them both, human and alien hope to find friendship in each other. Now, as the first contact team explores the fibrous tunnels of the small planetoid that houses the alien, an awesome secret waits inside.
The death of her cherished friend and guide Nemo, the alien squidmoth, came as a crushing blow to J.D. Sauvage. But J.D. and the first contact crew of the Earth ship Starfarer hope that the enigmatic being's legacy - the starship Nautilus - will lead them closer to communion with alien intelligence. Awaiting them on their journey are the representatives of the Four Worlds and one last chance to join interstellar Civilization, from which Earth has long been barred.